Don’t Love Me In Death if You Hated Me In Life.
Sooo, I’ve been following the story of the shooting at a small Korean-Christian college in
. I’ve just been following the online news. Unfortunately, when I do that, I tend to follow the online commentary. California
After which I feel like maybe *I* need to be preemptively, humanely killed before I “inevitably” do something horrible to the world’s quality people because, apparently, I’m a stupid violent animal just waiting to go off because….: 1. I’m a Christian, 2. I have a mental disorder / condition (a known and treated one, but still), 3. I’m an introvert. 4. I enjoy playing video games.
At least I don’t need to die or be deported or detained for my race. I’m a white person, this means I enjoy a certain amount of privilege, including not being personally targeted when people say “Oh, those Koreans!” or make an oh-so-funny joke about the shooter “being ashamed of the size of his eggroll.” (Yes, that was a real comment I saw on an online board, it’s probably been lost in the shuffle or found and nixed by a moderator by now, but not before it was seen).
I feel no need to suddenly fear Korean people now. I still plan to shop at my local H-Mart, which I love so much I made a happy-rant about it on this blog back in November. http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com/2011/11/nothing-says-happy-holidays-like.html
I saw some other commentator whine about how their large community college has all kinds of people who speak all kinds of languages and “no one makes fun of that, it must be a religious thing.”
I refrained from answering that person, because I learned long ago that such people aren’t worth talking to. The prejudiced don’t want any answer but echoes of their own opinion. I wanted to say “No, it’s not a religious thing, it’s a jerk-thing” because of my own positive experiences with ethnic diversity in Christian churches. When I was a teenager, I was really into a small family-like Baptist church. Now, they did hold to some dogma I no longer agree with, including a fairly strict-literalist reading of the Bible, but that didn’t make them killers nor did it even make them bullies. It’s not like they didn’t have their problems, but diversity in ethnicity and language were *not* among them. No one made fun of anyone who struggled with English, and for my part, members of our “sister-church” didn’t make fun of me for my odious Spanish.
Most of the commentary anywhere on articles I read on this news was fighting over gun-control. Loads of people were calling for tighter gun-control laws and they fought with the people who said “if all the victims were armed/there was one sane person with a gun, this could have been stopped.” My own opinion on that issue is kind of mixed. I don’t think I should ever own a gun. I am familiar with my ups and downs/instability and worry about a suicide-result, so I’ll voluntarily abstain from my “second amendment right.” However… when at Otakon (an anime festival) one year, in the seller’s hall, I visited a booth selling swords and other replica medieval weapons. A sign across the booth read: “If they outlaw guns, can we use swords?” - It was cheeky and geeky, but… really, the truth, no? It is harder to kill people with a sword – I mean, you gotta look your victim in the face before lopping his head off and a sword is not a ranged-weapon, then again, as a certain Protagonist* of a favorite book of mine once said “Swords don’t run out of ammo!”
Back to some of the stupid, petty commentary… I guess people on the Internet just let fly because they’re both anonymous and there is the perception that what one says on the Internet is ephemeral. Sure, things that are typed get archived, but after a couple pages down on a message-board or news commentary, nobody reads anymore. If someone calls you on being a jerk, something in most people’s minds apparently says “It’s just text.” I don’t know if the Internet encourages jerkiness or if it is merely bringing out all of the nastiness that has been brewing beneath the surface the entire time. I think one of the reasons why I hope there’s a God and/or some kind of spiritual dimension to life is because I don’t have a lot of faith in Humanity. To me, Humanity is like a zit – even in the most civil society, there’s a greasy nastiness beneath the surface just waiting for an opportunity to pop and ooze out.
This story made me recall something that happened in my childhood – not directly to me, just some News of the Century that happened near where I lived when I was right around 10 years old. Wat Pamakuriam (not sure if I’m spelling that right). If you’re interested, Google “Arizona Buddhist Temple Massacre” or “Avondale, Arizona Buddhist Temple Massacre.” In the desert on the outskirts of
lies a Buddhist temple complex where monks meditate and where nine people were shot dead in 1991. It was a big media fiasco… some of the criminal investigation was a bit dubious, and people across the state were generally appalled that someone could shoot people in the head as they prayed. Worst massacre in the state since Old West “Indian Wars” times. Phoenix mourned. I didn’t know anyone involved, my family wasn’t Buddhist, it really didn’t affect me directly at all, but this story has stayed with me all of my life because… monks praying peacefully were friggin’ shot in the head while being harmless! Arizona
I’m sure we all have violent news stories from our childhoods that have stuck with us.
This was back in the days when the Internet was unknown as a household thing (it existed then, but was a University and nerd thing, I think, but it wasn’t something everyone had in their home). We relied on television news and newspapers for our stories. My memory of the whole deal is fuzzy because it happened so long ago, but I don’t recall any newscast or paper proclaiming Buddhists to be inherently violent or any other absolute shit like that. I don’t recall anyone writing into editorial sections to say “those monks’ prayers didn’t save them, haha!” Somehow, I think if that story happened today, with the Internet, I’d be seeing that, just as I’m seeing the victim-blaming and making-fun-of-the-victims in online comments. Then again, it might be different just because of the religions involved. Buddhists in
/ the Western world are stereotyped as “peaceful” while Christians who are committed enough to actually *call* themselves “Christian” are “crazy and stupid” and, well, if this had been a mosque or an Islamic college? Um…. Yeah, I think we’d all be buried under screams of “terrorism!” It doesn’t matter if the victims were the shooter’s “own.” America
This brings me to my ultimate annoyance. Lots and lots of “Christians are crazy and stupid; this guy was acting like a typical Christian! Of course this happened, the Bible is violent! -- Oh, but what senseless loss of life and condolences to the families.” Whut? This brings me to the title of this rant. Don’t love me in death if you hated me in life. If you hate me, either as a person or just because of a category I’m in (“loosely Christian / believes in a God”, “struggles with a mental disorder,” “doesn’t like parties,” “plays video games”) then, by all means, if I am killed in a violent act by “one of my own,” DON’T FAKE MOURN ME OR USE ME AS A DAMN MARTYR. If what you *really* deep down, politically-incorrectly think is “a rat took out a rat’s nest” or “those people deserved it” DON’T pretend like their loss is a loss to you, because it’s not.
Go ahead and dance on graves. It’s the Internet, which means no one will punch you in the face. Stereotyping and prejudice pisses me off, but I think passive-aggressive stuff pisses me off even more. (If you’re only “mourning the dead” because you think they missed out on their chance to live long enough drop their beliefs and become full human beings like you and you think it’s sad that they died as who they were, you’re a doin’ it wrong)!
Either MAKE THE LOSS A LOSS to you by realizing that everyone is human, or spit on the graves. If you cannot let a tragic story make you a better person, at least be honest.
*Capitalization intentional. Hiro Protagonist of Neil Stephenson’s “Snow Crash.” I think his exercise tool, the “redneck katana” could have done some damage, too, if he’d actually used it as a weapon.